butler realized the young man did not have enough context to understand the necessity to accept abuse just to keep oneself and one's family alive and well. fifteen days later, on the 4th of july, dana returns to the plantation where she finds that alice has hanged herself. a tragic figure, she survives her fate by feeding off the hate she has for rufus but hangs herself after rufus tells her he has sold her children as punishment for trying to run away.
nigel arrives to see rufus's death throes, at which point dana becomes terribly sick and time travels home for the last time, only to find herself in excruciating pain, as her arm has been joined to a wall in the spot where rufus was holding it. compelled to submit her body to rufus, alice then divorces her desire from her sexuality to preserve a sense of self. i could accept him as my ancestor, my younger brother, my friend, but not as my master, and not as my lover.
when she comes to her senses, she finds herself at the edge of a wood, near a river where a small, red-haired boy is drowning. "i keep thinking what an experience it would be to stay in it— go west and watch the building of the country, see how much of the old west mythology is true. similarly, missy dehn kubistchek reads butler's novel as "african-american woman’s quest for understanding history and self" which ends with dana extending the concept of "kindred" to include both her black and white her heritage as well as her white husband while "insisting on her right to self definition.
pamela bedore notes that while rufus seems to hold all the power in his relationship with alice, she never wholly surrenders herself to him; in fact, alice’s suicide can be read as her way of ending her ongoing power struggle with rufus with a "final upsetting of their power balance"; an escape through death. briefly considering giving in to rufus' sexual advances, dana steels herself to stab him:"i could feel the knife in my hand, still slippery with perspiration. i stayed on my feet for a moment holding on to a bookcase and wondering what was wrong, then finally, i collapsed to my knees" (kindred, p.
 butler’s depiction of her principal character as an independent, self-possessed, educated african-american woman defies slavery’s racist and sexist objectification of blacks and women. deciding to let him work his feelings out for himself, dana packs a bag in case she time travels again. since dana sees sexual domination as the ultimate form of subordination and dehumanization, her killing of rufus serves to reject her identity as a female slave, distinguishing herself from those who did not have the power to say "no.